Experts: International Women's Day | March 8

Published: 7 March 2023

March 8 is International Women's Day, a global day of recognition celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and girls, and raising awareness of the work left to be done. (Status of Women Canada

Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue: 

Alexandra Ketchum, Faculty Lecturer, Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies 

“Women and technology, as highlighted by the Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Series, is an important topic in today's society. We must ask ourselves how our technologies (as wide ranging as artificial intelligence, machine-learning, voice assistants, robots, apps and social media) affect women's rights?” 

Alexandra Ketchum is a Faculty Lecturer at the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. She is the founder of the Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Speaker and Workshop Series, an initiative seeking to bring together scholars, creators, and people in industry working at the intersections of digital humanities, computer science, feminist studies, disability studies, communications studies, LGBTQ+ studies, history, and critical race theory. 

alexandra.ketchum [at] (English, French – written press only) 

Shaheen Shariff, James McGill Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education 

“Canadian women are graduating from university programs in record numbers and hold leadership positions in academia, science and medicine, law and government, arts, media and private industry. Nonetheless, patriarchal regimes limited or continued to block women’s access to education, employment, choice of dress, religion and social life in 2022, subjecting many to lives of poverty and isolation. Rape proliferated as a weapon of war; and intimate partner and gender-based violence jeopardized the health, economic security and safety of women and children. Many American women lost their rights to abortion as the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. These regressions make it incumbent on our universities, schools, governments and communities to facilitate access to education, employment and childcare for marginalized women, because education and employment are every woman’s inherent right. Universities must reclaim their role as universal educators of society, to inform and enlighten all stakeholders including government, to work towards unearthing, critically challenging and removing deeply embedded, intersectional forms of misogyny, patriarchy; androcentricity; and discrimination. Overlooking these barriers tacitly and ultimately supports autocracy and insular societies, undermines democracy and diminishes opportunities for progress.” 

Shaheen Shariff is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education and Associate Member of the Faculty of Law. Her work is centered on the intersection of education, law and policy, with a focus on constitutional, human rights and civil law as it impacts educational institutions. She is best known for her work on cyberbullying, and sexual violence as symptoms of deeply ingrained systemic discrimination and societal power imbalances (intersecting forms of sexism, misogyny, homophobia, ableism, ageism, and xenophobia).  

shaheen.shariff [at] (English) 

Audrey Moores, Full Professor, Department of Chemistry 

“It is well recognized that women account for fewer graduates than men in a number of STEM fields, but recent data from Canada looking at career paths 10 years after graduation indicates that there is more attrition of women than men in these careers. This is discrepancies explains in part the gender gap we see in salaries because STEM jobs have typical higher than average pays. This is even more troublesome when we realize that STEM jobs are at the heart of the sustainability revolution needed to combat climate change. UN data shows that women are likely to be more affected by the negative effects of climate change than men… and yet they are more likely to be excluded from the solution. We have the responsibility to advocate, reach out and mentor around us to reduce this gap, but strong political action is also needed to see significant change.” 

Audrey Moores is a Full Professor in the Department of Chemistry. Since 2007, her research group has worked at the interfaces between the fields of nanoparticle science, material chemistry, coordination chemistry and organic synthesis. 

audrey.moores [at] (English, French) 

Carola Weil, Dean, School of Continuing Studies  

“As a woman in a leadership role and an educator, I am passionate about eliminating the barriers that so many women continue to face. Despite all the progress that has been made, women, particularly from historically marginalized population groups, still encounter significant challenges to achieving gender parity in pay, working conditions, advancement opportunities, recognition, and rewards. I teach about and advocate for the linkages between gender, diversity, and inclusion to create a more equitable society for all.” 

Carola Weil is Dean and Associate Professor in the School of Continuing Studies. A political scientist and policy analyst by training with a focus on international relations, human security and migration, conflict transformation and public diplomacy, Weil’s career has straddled public policy, non-profit, and philanthropic sectors in addition to higher education. 

carola.weil [at] (English, German, French)

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